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[Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects



This makes sense to me, Andy. I could also interpret the photographs as
boundary objects as they support the coordination of therapy activities
between Thomas and the nurse. I think it depends on the aspect of activity
one is attempting to explore as opposed to the definite identification of
what may or may not be a boundary object. This is only my opinion though!




On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Or alternatively, the boundary object in question is Thomas's aged body,
> which is subject to an interpretation which Thomas contests by showing
> photographs of far away places and explaining how well-travelled he is,
> seeking an interpretation of himself as a well-travelled and experiences
> man-of-the-world.
> Does that make better sense?
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> On 20/07/2015 11:27 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>
>> Yes, I agree. My own interest is in social theory and I'd never heard of
>> "boundary objects." It seems to me that what BOs do is introduce some
>> social theory into domains of activity (scientific and work collaborations
>> for example) where the participants naively think they are collaborating on
>> neutral ground. So it is not just granularity, but also the ideological
>> context.
>>
>> In Yjro Engestrom's article, the home care workers collaborate with the
>> old couple according to rules and regulations, communications resources,
>> technology, finance and so on, which in the unnamed country, the old couple
>> are apparently cast as "patients". Isn't it the case that here it is those
>> rules and regulations, etc., which are the "boundary objects"?
>>
>> Andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> On 20/07/2015 11:13 PM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>
>>> I think that a particular institution or government system could
>>> potentially be a boundary object depending on how the concept is applied.
>>> Star describes three criteria: 1) interpretive flexibility 2) material/
>>> organizational structure and 3) scale/ granularity in which the concept is
>>> useful.
>>>
>>> She argues that boundary objects are typically most useful at the
>>> organizational level - so I would say that one would have to justify the
>>> utility of applying the concept to a particular institution, as opposed to,
>>> say, an object within an institution.
>>>
>>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 2:46 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>
>>>     Phew!
>>>     So would it be correct to describe the government
>>>     institutions and political system are "boundary objects"?
>>>     Andy
>>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>     On 20/07/2015 9:42 PM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>>
>>>         Hi Andy -
>>>         Good catch! I believe that is a typo and should
>>>         read "despite a LACK of consensus". Thank you for
>>>         pointing that out.
>>>
>>>
>>>         I also wanted to follow up on a suggestion that
>>>         Greg made in the other thread suggesting we look
>>>         at David McNeill's work. I had only been familiar
>>>         with his earlier work on gesture, but after doing
>>>         a bit of reading over the weekend, I found his
>>>         concept of  'unexpected metaphors' potentially
>>>         useful in dealing with some of my questions.(
>>> http://mcneilllab.uchicago.edu/pdfs/unexpected_metaphors.pdf
>>>         )
>>>
>>>         Here is a relevant quote describing unexpected
>>>         metaphors as a form of gesture:
>>>
>>>             /The logic is that unexpected metaphors arise
>>>         from the
>>>             need to create images when the culture does
>>>         not have
>>>             them readily at hand. These images join linguistic
>>>             content as growth points and differentiate what
>>>             Vygotsky (1987) called psychological
>>>         predicates, or
>>>             points of contrast in the immediate ongoing
>>>         context of
>>>             speaking. Unexpected metaphors, precisely
>>>         because they
>>>             are outside the conventions of language and
>>>         culture,
>>>             can capture abstractions in novel ways and
>>>         provide the
>>>             fluidity of thought and language that is the
>>>         essence
>>>             of ongoing discourse./
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>         On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM, Andy Blunden
>>>         <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
>>>         <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
>>>         <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>             Rolf, what did you mean by "the achievement of
>>>             cooperation despite consensus"?
>>>             p. 131,
>>>
>>>             Andy
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>             *Andy Blunden*
>>>         http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>         <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>             <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>             On 17/07/2015 8:45 AM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>>
>>>                 Are we allowed to ask questions about our
>>>         paper as
>>>                 well? I hope so!
>>>
>>>                 For a little context -in our paper, we
>>>         identified
>>>                 particular kinds of
>>>                 episodes in which participants from different
>>>                 disciplines seek coherence
>>>                 and continuity of shared representations
>>>         through
>>>                 bodily action. These
>>>                 actions include gesture, movement and physical
>>>                 performance linking the
>>>                 present material artifacts to objects of
>>>         design.
>>>                 Most of these episodes
>>>                 seem to involve some form of improvisation,
>>>                 resourcefulness or creativity,
>>>                 and I'm not fully sure how to characterize
>>>         these
>>>                 aspects of the
>>>                 interactions. In most cases, the
>>>         participants seem
>>>                 to be searching for the
>>>                 best words or material representation to
>>>         convey a
>>>                 particular intention -
>>>                 when this becomes problematic or limiting
>>>         - they
>>>                 almost fall back on what
>>>                 is available - these improvised bodily
>>>                 performances - as a way of
>>>                 maintaining continuity, and of inviting
>>>                 co-participants into a shared and
>>>                 imagined space. These bodily actions don't
>>>         seem to
>>>                 begin the proposals, but
>>>                 are in a sense *discovered* by the
>>>         participants.
>>>
>>>
>>>                 I think there is something really fascinating
>>>                 about this kind of creativity
>>>                 and resourcefulness in interaction that
>>>         could be
>>>                 explored more deeply - and
>>>                 that I'm having trouble articulating.
>>>         Maybe some
>>>                 of you have some thoughts
>>>                 on this? Alfredo - I know we've talked
>>>         about this
>>>                 a bit before so maybe you
>>>                 can add a little clarity to my question.
>>>
>>>                 On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 9:37 PM, HENRY SHONERD
>>>                 <hshonerd@gmail.com
>>>         <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>
>>>         <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com
>>>         <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>>>
>>>                 wrote:
>>>
>>>                     Alfredo,
>>>                     Thank you very much for the sketch of your
>>>                     roots. I taught English in
>>>                     Puigcerda and Barcelona for 5 years
>>>         back in
>>>                     the early 70s, just before
>>>                     Franco died. (He died the day I
>>>         boarded the
>>>                     plane back to the U.S.) Place
>>>                     and language are interesting,
>>>         especially where
>>>                     language varieties meet.
>>>                     Boundaries. I know mostly from my
>>>         familiarity
>>>                     with the music of Catalunya
>>>                     and Mallorca that the speech
>>>         communities in
>>>                     each of those places treasure
>>>                     their unique languages (Catalan and
>>>                     Mallorquin), yet see a commonality
>>>                     vis-a-vis their separateness from
>>>         Castilian
>>>                     Spanish, the national language
>>>                     of Spain from 1492 on. I see a parallel
>>>                     between your work on boundary
>>>                     objects, where individual persons
>>>         collaborate
>>>                     to create spaces, AND
>>>                     boundary objects “negotiated” by groups of
>>>                     people who live in real spaces.
>>>                     I am thinking, among other things, of
>>>                     indigeneity, a big topic here in New
>>>                     Mexico, with so many Native Americans.
>>>                     Assymetries of power. Bullying.
>>>                     Testing and curriculum become
>>>         instruments of
>>>                     war by other means. I hope my
>>>                     tone does not distract from, nor
>>>         diminish, the
>>>                     optimism created by this
>>>                     thread. Yet I think that optimism is so
>>>                     precious because of the ground (the
>>>                     world) of the dialog.
>>>                     Henry
>>>
>>>
>>>                         On Jul 16, 2015, at 12:13 PM, Alfredo
>>>                         Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>>         <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
>>>                         <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>>         <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>>>
>>>
>>>                     wrote:
>>>
>>>                         Well, you could say that I am partly
>>>                         Catalan. I grew up in the province
>>>
>>>                     of Valencia, where Catalan language is
>>>                     official language together with
>>>                     Castilian Spanish. Although Valencia (the
>>>                     county) and Catalonia are
>>>                     different regional counties, Catalan
>>>         is spoken
>>>                     in Catalonia, Valencia, and
>>>                     the Balear Islands. Some call the three
>>>                     together as the Catalan Countries.
>>>                     I don't like borders, but I respect
>>>         and enjoy
>>>                     cultural diversity.
>>>
>>>                         Standardized testing, and the whole
>>>                         assumptions behind it, are an issue
>>>
>>>                     also in Spain and in Catalonia; but
>>>         education
>>>                     has been so battered during
>>>                     the last years of right-wing
>>>         government that I
>>>                     the debate have been more
>>>                     about means and access than about
>>>         contents and
>>>                     aims. Which in some sense
>>>                     may be good because it moves the
>>>         debates away
>>>                     from performance. But I have
>>>                     been living outside of Spain for eight
>>>         years
>>>                     now, so I am not the best to
>>>                     update you on this either.
>>>
>>>                         Best wishes,
>>>                         Alfredo
>>> ________________________________________
>>>                         From:
>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>>
>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>> on
>>>                     behalf of
>>>                     HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com
>>>         <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>
>>>                     <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com
>>>         <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>>>
>>>
>>>                         Sent: 16 July 2015 19:54
>>>                         To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>                         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of
>>>                         Boundary Objects
>>>
>>>                         Alfredo,
>>>                         Yes, you have answered my question
>>>         very
>>>                         nicely! I especially appreciate
>>>
>>>                     that you were willing to wrestle with my
>>>                     question, despite your lack of
>>>                     familiarity with the issues here in
>>>         the U.S.
>>>                     Am I wrong, or are you
>>>                     Catalan? In which case your experience in
>>>                     Catalunya would take you to a
>>>                     different place in critiquing
>>>         schooling there,
>>>                     though not necessarily
>>>                     unconnected to yours and Rolf’s work on
>>>                     boundary objects. I just met for
>>>                     the second day in a row with a friend
>>>         who is
>>>                     the liaison between our public
>>>                     school district and a children’s science
>>>                     museum called Explora. I feel like
>>>                     I’m swimming in this thread, talk about a
>>>                     mixed metaphor!
>>>
>>>                         Henry
>>>
>>>
>>>                             On Jul 16, 2015, at 12:18 AM,
>>>         Alfredo
>>>                             Jornet Gil
>>>         <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
>>>                             <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>>         <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>>>
>>>
>>>                     wrote:
>>>
>>>                             I am sorry, Henry, but I am
>>>         not very
>>>                             familiar with high-stakes
>>>
>>>                     standardized testing (as different to
>>>                     standardized testing in general) or
>>>                     with common core (which I quickly read
>>>         is an
>>>                     issue in US). But I would say
>>>                     that, if (school) curricula were to be
>>>                     consistent with the view of
>>>                     education as the practice of creating
>>>                     conditions for certain attitudes and
>>>                     dispositions to emerge--which is what
>>>         I was
>>>                     suggesting in the paragraph you
>>>                     copy--curricula would not be so much about
>>>                     standardized contents, but about
>>>                     human sensitivities and relations. So,
>>>         I would
>>>                     say, no, standardized
>>>                     testing is not in principle in line
>>>         with what
>>>                     I was trying to say.
>>>
>>>                             I was trying to make a distinction
>>>                             between trying to design someone's
>>>
>>>                     particular experience, and trying to
>>>         design
>>>                     conditions for the development
>>>                     of attitudes and orientations. The
>>>         first is
>>>                     likely impossible. The second
>>>                     seems to make more sense.
>>>
>>>                             One may of course wonder
>>>         whether those
>>>                             attitudes and orientations can
>>>
>>>                     be considered general, and then form
>>>         part of
>>>                     standardize measures instead
>>>                     of the traditional "contents and
>>>         skills". But
>>>                     measuring assumes some
>>>                     quantitative increment in a particular
>>>         aspect
>>>                     as the result of learning.
>>>                     Growth and development, however, are about
>>>                     qualitative change. So, as soon
>>>                     as you start measuring you would be
>>>         missing
>>>                     growth and development. So,
>>>                     again, no. I would not say that
>>>         high-stakes
>>>                     standardized testing is in line
>>>                     with what I was trying to say.
>>>
>>>                             I hope I have answered your
>>>         question,
>>>                             Alfredo
>>>         ________________________________________
>>>                             From:
>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>>
>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>> on
>>>                     behalf of
>>>                     HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com
>>>         <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>
>>>                     <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com
>>>         <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>>>
>>>
>>>                             Sent: 16 July 2015 07:48
>>>                             To: eXtended Mind, Culture,
>>>         Activity
>>>                             Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>>         Emergence of
>>>                             Boundary Objects
>>>
>>>                             Alfredo, you say:
>>>
>>>                             "However, we cannot aim at
>>>         determining
>>>                             any particular
>>>
>>>                     situation/experience. The same may be said
>>>                     about EDUCATION. We cannot
>>>                     intend to communicate the curriculum
>>>         and make
>>>                     it the content of the
>>>                     students' experience in the way we
>>>         intend. But
>>>                     we can try to create the
>>>                     conditions for certain attitudes and
>>>                     dispositions to emerge."
>>>
>>>                             Would you say that high-stakes
>>>                             standardized testing is in
>>>         line with
>>>
>>>                     your construal of curriculum design?
>>>         How about
>>>                     common core?
>>>
>>>                             Henry
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>                                 On Jul 15, 2015, at 5:29 PM,
>>>                                 Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>>                                 <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>>         <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
>>> <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>>         <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>>>
>>>
>>>                     wrote:
>>>
>>>                                 Thanks a lot for the
>>>                                 clarifications. I see now
>>>         why it
>>>                                 may be said that
>>>
>>>                     designers can aim at designing for
>>>         constrains
>>>                     but not for affordances. I
>>>                     see that this way of talking is part of a
>>>                     designers' way to get things
>>>                     done, and that it may indeed be an
>>>         effective
>>>                     way to design for
>>>                     place-making, as in the example that
>>>         Michael
>>>                     gives of MOMA. Indeed, much of
>>>                     what we report in our study is about
>>>         designers
>>>                     talking about how spatial
>>>                     features might afford some experiences
>>>         in the
>>>                     museum while constraining
>>>                     others.
>>>
>>>                                 I must admit, however, that I
>>>                                 still consider the distinction
>>>
>>>                     problematic from an analytical perspective
>>>                     whenever our object of study is
>>>                     experience, situated action, or design as
>>>                     situated practice. A more correct
>>>                     way to talk is that affordances and
>>>         constrains
>>>                     are the positive and
>>>                     negative sides/interpretations of a single
>>>                     unitary category. As an actual
>>>                     and concrete phenomenon, walking into
>>>         a musuem
>>>                     implies both affordances and
>>>                     constrains at the same time, whether
>>>         intended
>>>                     or not. Which makes me wonder
>>>                     whether other terminology, such as
>>>         Ingold's
>>>                     notion of "correspondence,"
>>>                     might be more appropriated when we
>>>         talk about
>>>                     how materials and actions
>>>                     become entangled into particular
>>>         trajectories.
>>>
>>>                                 In any case, and as Rolf
>>>                                 emphasizes, what the
>>>         designers in
>>>                                 our study
>>>
>>>                     indeed do is to IMAGINE ways of being
>>>         in the
>>>                     museum. Imagination versus
>>>                     prediction may be an interesting topic
>>>                     emerging here for further inquiry
>>>                     into design work.
>>>
>>>                                 Another important (and
>>>         related)
>>>                                 issue that I think is
>>>         emerging here
>>>
>>>                     has to do with the level of generality at
>>>                     which design intentions can be
>>>                     expected to work (just as Bateson
>>>         argued with
>>>                     regard to prediction). At the
>>>                     level of generic social processes, and
>>>         given a
>>>                     particular
>>>                     cultural-historical background, we as
>>>                     designers may try to make some
>>>                     generic situations more likely to
>>>         occur than
>>>                     others (facilitating that more
>>>                     or less people end up together in a given
>>>                     place). However, we cannot aim at
>>>                     determining any particular
>>>                     situation/experience. The same may be
>>>         said about
>>>                     EDUCATION. We cannot intend to
>>>         communicate the
>>>                     curriculum and make it the
>>>                     content of the students' experience in
>>>         the way
>>>                     we intend. But we can try to
>>>                     create the conditions for certain
>>>         attitudes
>>>                     and dispositions to emerge.
>>>
>>>                                 Alfredo
>>>         ________________________________________
>>>                                 From:
>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>>
>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>> on
>>>                     behalf of
>>>                     Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu
>>>         <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu
>>>         <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>>
>>>
>>>                                 Sent: 15 July 2015 23:30
>>>                                 To: eXtended Mind,
>>>         Culture, Activity
>>>                                 Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>>                                 Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>>
>>>                                 Hi Alfredo,
>>>
>>>                                 I think Rolf may have
>>>         addressed
>>>                                 the question of the
>>>         differences
>>>
>>>                     between affordances and constraints in his
>>>                     post. The way he described the
>>>                     designers as possibly setting up the
>>>         corner
>>>                     with Pollock at MOMA.  It was a
>>>                     long time ago so I'm not sure if this
>>>         is the
>>>                     way it was or the way I
>>>                     remember it, but let's just believe
>>>         this is
>>>                     the way it was.  The painting,
>>>                     I think there were three were set up in a
>>>                     corner off a main corridor.  The
>>>                     lighting was dark, which if you have
>>>         ever been
>>>                     to MOMA is different, in
>>>                     many other parts of the museum there
>>>         is a good
>>>                     deal of natural light (there
>>>                     was this great fountain, I wonder if it is
>>>                     still there).  The paintings
>>>                     were on tripods rather than hung on
>>>         the walls
>>>                     and they were surrounded on
>>>                     three sides by walls.  All of these I
>>>         think
>>>                     would be considered restraints
>>>                     - pushing me in to the works rather than
>>>                     stepping back away.  It was
>>>                     impossible for more than two or three
>>>         people
>>>                     to view the paintings at one
>>>                     time and movement was limited, so
>>>         there were
>>>                     fewer chances for social
>>>                     interactions (you were not going to
>>>         pick up
>>>                     anybody looking at Jackson
>>>                     Pollock).  The atmosphere was
>>>         brooding, making
>>>                     it more likely that viewers
>>>                     would move towards internal
>>>         reflection.  All
>>>                     of these were constraints that
>>>                     canalized perspectives and feelings
>>>         viewing
>>>                     the paintings.  You really had
>>>                     only two choices, you moved in to the
>>>                     paintings or you moved on, which I
>>>                     had done every previous time coming
>>>         upon them.
>>>
>>>                                 The painting itself though
>>>         became
>>>                                 an affordances, an object
>>>         at the
>>>
>>>                     nexus of my journey through the
>>>         museum, where
>>>                     I was in my life, and my
>>>                     abilities to perceive the painitings.         This
>>>                     was something that could not be
>>>                     designed I think because nobody could
>>>         think
>>>                     that moment was going to
>>>                     happen.   So then what is a perceived
>>>                     affordance. Way back when there was
>>>                     also a Manet room.  It was a round
>>>         room with
>>>                     different variations of his
>>>                     water lilies in a circle.  Almost the
>>>         exact
>>>                     opposite in constraints it was
>>>                     large, airy, a lot of natural light. If you
>>>                     were looking to brood you went
>>>                     somewhere else.  In the middle of the
>>>         room was
>>>                     a wooden structure (not an
>>>                     obvious bench), but you realized as random
>>>                     colors dissolved into water
>>>                     lilies that you wanted to sit down.  You
>>>                     naturally moved to the center of
>>>                     the room and sat (wondering if a guard
>>>         would
>>>                     come and tell you it was
>>>                     actually an important piece of art and you
>>>                     should get off).  The designer
>>>                     anticipates a desire to soak in the
>>>         room, to
>>>                     almost get dizzy in the
>>>                     lights, and included in the design the
>>>         piece
>>>                     of wood that will have the
>>>                     perceived affordance for sitting, changing
>>>                     your concept of time and space.
>>>
>>>                                 Michael
>>>
>>>                                 -----Original Message-----
>>>                                 From:
>>> xmca-l-bounces+glassman.13=osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu <mailto:
>>> osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>>                                 [mailto:
>>>
>>> xmca-l-bounces+glassman.13=osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu <mailto:
>>> osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>>] On Behalf
>>>                     Of Alfredo
>>>
>>>                     Jornet Gil
>>>
>>>                                 Sent: Wednesday, July 15,
>>>         2015 3:01 PM
>>>                                 To: eXtended Mind,
>>>         Culture, Activity
>>>                                 Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>>                                 Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>>
>>>                                 Thanks Michael,
>>>
>>>                                 I think we are saying the same
>>>                                 things, indeed, or at
>>>         least more or
>>>
>>>                     less. I am quite certain that Bateson
>>>         referred
>>>                     to energy, and that he used
>>>                     the mentioned examples (or similar
>>>         ones) to
>>>                     show how the energy that moves
>>>                     the pig is not a direct transfer of energy
>>>                     from the kick, whereas in the
>>>                     case of the billiard balls, the
>>>         movement of
>>>                     one ball is caused by the
>>>                     energy that the kicking ball brings. I
>>>         might
>>>                     be wrong in the context within
>>>                     which Bateson was discussing the
>>>         example, and
>>>                     I see that your account is in
>>>                     that regard is more accurate. But the
>>>         point is
>>>                     the same: you can not intend
>>>                     the outcomes of a system by addressing
>>>         only
>>>                     its parts as if they were
>>>                     connected directly, in a linear causal
>>>                     fashion; as if the whole was the sum
>>>                     of its parts. I do see a link with
>>>         Vygotsky's
>>>                     rejection of S-R and his
>>>                     inclusion of a third element that
>>>         transforms
>>>                     the whole system.
>>>
>>>                                 But I totally agree with your
>>>                                 comments on design
>>>         intentions as they
>>>
>>>                     relate to ecology, and I, as I know
>>>         also Rolf
>>>                     does, also like very much the
>>>                     notion of ecology to address these issues.
>>>
>>>                                 If I read you correctly, and
>>>                                 citing Don Norman (whose
>>>         work I
>>>                                 ignore),
>>>
>>>                     you suggest the possibility that the
>>>         relations
>>>                     between design intentions
>>>                     and actual experience could be thought
>>>         of in
>>>                     terms of different levels?
>>>                     That one thing is to design for what is
>>>                     general, but that we cannot design
>>>                     for the particular. Is that right? If
>>>         so, I
>>>                     think that Bateson had a
>>>                     similar argument on prediction, does
>>>         not him?
>>>                     That we can predict on
>>>                     general levels (e.g. population), but
>>>         not at
>>>                     the level of the particular
>>>                     (e.g., individual). I haven't gone
>>>         that way,
>>>                     but seems a promising road to
>>>                     consider this jumps between levels of
>>>                     generality or scales.
>>>
>>>                                 Finally, I am not sure if
>>>         I get
>>>                                 what you mean when you say
>>>         that we can
>>>
>>>                     design for constrains but not for
>>>         affordances.
>>>                     I still see that the one
>>>                     presupposes the other; you can
>>>         separate them
>>>                     in talk, but, to me, in actual
>>>                     experience, a constrain is an
>>>         affordance and
>>>                     vice-versa. I don't see how
>>>                     the road has any inherent constrain
>>>         that could
>>>                     not be an affordance at the
>>>                     same time. Of course, if you take the
>>>                     normative stance that roads are for
>>>                     cars driving through them, you may be
>>>         right.
>>>                     But if we think of roads as
>>>                     asphalt on the ground, as yet more
>>>         ground only
>>>                     of a different shape,
>>>                     texture, and color, how is that a
>>>         constrain
>>>                     but not an affordance? Or an
>>>                     affordance but not a constrain? Of course,
>>>                     culture constrains once you are
>>>                     within the road and you are driving.
>>>         But then,
>>>                     the constrain is not in the
>>>                     road, as you seem to suggest, but in the
>>>                     journey; in the journeyman that
>>>                     carries some cultural way of orienting and
>>>                     affectively relating to its
>>>                     environment so that particular
>>>         constrains are
>>>                     taken for granted despite the
>>>                     possibility of being otherwise. But I
>>>         might
>>>                     not have thought it well/long
>>>                     enough and of course I might be wrong.
>>>         I would
>>>                     like to understand your
>>>                     position here better.
>>>
>>>                                 Thanks!
>>>                                 Alfredo
>>>
>>>         ________________________________________
>>>                                 From:
>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>>
>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>> on
>>>                     behalf of
>>>                     Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu
>>>         <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu
>>>         <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>>
>>>
>>>                                 Sent: 15 July 2015 20:32
>>>                                 To: eXtended Mind,
>>>         Culture, Activity
>>>                                 Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>>                                 Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>>
>>>                                 Hi Alfredo,
>>>
>>>                                 I have been reading Bateson
>>>                                 through a cybernetics lens
>>>         lately
>>>                                 (Bateson
>>>
>>>                     along with Lewin and his wife Margaret
>>>         Mead
>>>                     were part of the original Sears
>>>                     conferences)  and I'm not sure that's
>>>         right or
>>>                     I am victim to the "when you
>>>                     have a hammer, everything looks like a
>>>         nail"
>>>                     but....
>>>
>>>                                 I think Bateson was
>>>         arguing with
>>>                                 those looking to apply the
>>>         more
>>>
>>>                     physical/mathematical origins of
>>>         cybernetics
>>>                     to human or really (pace the
>>>                     pig story) and system that moves
>>>         beyond simple
>>>                     physical feedback loops.  I
>>>                     think his larger point is that
>>>         everything has
>>>                     a response within the larger
>>>                     feedback system that exists but we
>>>         cannot go -
>>>                     what Bateson refers to as
>>>                     MIND.  Attempts to create and control
>>>         feedback
>>>                     loops, to try and design a
>>>                     system for specific types of feedback is a
>>>                     dangerous proposition.
>>>
>>>                                 This I think is the reason
>>>         that
>>>                                 affordances really can't
>>>         be designed
>>>
>>>                     into an ecology, only a recognition of the
>>>                     context in which actions are
>>>                     taking place (and I say this having no
>>>         idea
>>>                     what Gibson's relationship to
>>>                     cybernetics was).  Taking Larry's
>>>         example of
>>>                     the girl it is perhaps also
>>>                     likely that the girl could have taken the
>>>                     fixing of hair as a criticism, an
>>>                     attack, and it might have destroyed her
>>>                     confidence.  Both make sense in
>>>                     terms of feedback loops, but only ad
>>>         hoc.  So
>>>                     if a designer does in some
>>>                     way design that experience into the
>>>         action,
>>>                     even without meaning they are
>>>                     taking a large chance, because they do not
>>>                     know the trajectory it will
>>>                     take.  We simply need objects that are
>>>         part of
>>>                     our journey, part of the
>>>                     larger context but not designed for
>>>         purpose,
>>>                     for feedback.  There is no
>>>                     assumption about trajectory.
>>>
>>>                                 I think Don Norman sort of
>>>         muddied
>>>                                 the waters on this, but in an
>>>
>>>                     interesting way.  That we can assume
>>>         people
>>>                     are going to want to do certain
>>>                     things in a very general environment -
>>>         when          you enter a dark room you want
>>>                     light, so it is possible to design objects
>>>                     that meet that need that we are
>>>                     more likely to find in the moment that
>>>         we need
>>>                     them.  But I think that is
>>>                     very different from the idea of
>>>         specifically
>>>                     guiding feedback loops that
>>>                     even take generalized experience in a
>>>         certain
>>>                     direction.  I am thinking
>>>                     about Dewey, and he makes a similar
>>>         argument
>>>                     to Bateson with his concept of
>>>                     transactions.  Although he does seem
>>>         to think
>>>                     that it is possible to create
>>>                     a larger field of action so we can see at
>>>                     least local interrelationships.
>>>                     But his idea of experience is also
>>>         very much
>>>                     one of discovery based on
>>>                     needs at the immediate moment - social
>>>                     relations act as a vehicle for these
>>>                     discoveriesn(Dewey of course was writing
>>>                     before Gibson and for most of his
>>>                     life before cybernetics.  I also
>>>         wonder what
>>>                     he thought of cybernetics).
>>>
>>>                                 I think I disagree with you,
>>>                                 constraints are not about the
>>>                                 journey but
>>>
>>>                     about the road.  If you build a road
>>>         on the
>>>                     side of the river you are
>>>                     constrained because no matter what,
>>>         you cannot
>>>                     turn right.  Your direction
>>>                     has already been partially determined
>>>         by the
>>>                     designer of the road.  But the
>>>                     mistake we make is in thinking that also
>>>                     controls the trajectory of the
>>>                     individual's journey.  The effect of
>>>         designers
>>>                     on trajectories of action is
>>>                     important, but limited.
>>>
>>>                                 The primary place that
>>>         designers
>>>                                 have influence on
>>>         affordances it
>>>
>>>                     seems to me is by being able to create a
>>>                     unique context for an individual's
>>>                     and a group's that limit possible
>>>         trajectories
>>>                     on an individual's journey.
>>>                     But we should never mistake those
>>>         constraints
>>>                     for affordances.  I think
>>>                     Bateson might argue it is hubris to do so.
>>>                     Perhaps this is what you are
>>>                     saying Alfredo.
>>>
>>>                                 Michael
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>                                 -----Original Message-----
>>>                                 From:
>>> xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>>
>>>                     [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+mglassman
>>>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%2Bmglassman>
>>>                     <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%2Bmglassman
>>> <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%252Bmglassman>>=
>>> ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>>] On
>>>                     Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>>
>>>                                 Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
>>>                                 12:38 PM
>>>                                 To: Rolf Steier; eXtended
>>>         Mind,
>>>                                 Culture, Activity
>>>                                 Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>>                                 Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>>
>>>                                 I'd like to follow up on
>>>         Michael's
>>>                                 post by asking a question:
>>>         Are not
>>>
>>>                     affordances presupposed by constraints
>>>         and are
>>>                     not constraints presupposed
>>>                     by affordances? If so, I would wonder
>>>         whether
>>>                     it makes sense to ask whether
>>>                     museums should be designed for
>>>         affordances and
>>>                     constraints.
>>>
>>>                                 What I think is clear from the
>>>                                 anecdote that you bring
>>>         about the
>>>
>>>                     Jackson Pollock corner is that whatever
>>>                     EXPERIENCE emerges from being
>>>                     somewhere (i.e. being someone at some
>>>         time in
>>>                     some place) cannot be
>>>                     INTENDED. And I think this applies both to
>>>                     designers and users, to those
>>>                     who set things up for you to
>>>         experience and to
>>>                     you, who could not foresee
>>>                     what your experience was going to turn you
>>>                     into before you go through it.
>>>
>>>                                 I think that the big issue
>>>         that
>>>                                 you bring on the table (to
>>>         continue
>>>
>>>                     with Larry's metaphor) has to do with a
>>>                     difference between physical
>>>                     relations and social relations, and
>>>         the idea
>>>                     of MEDIATION. Gregory Bateson
>>>                     noticed that the relations that are the
>>>                     subject matter in physics are not
>>>                     the same as those that are the subject
>>>         matter
>>>                     in communication. He noticed
>>>                     that physical relations (relations
>>>         that are
>>>                     the object of study of physics)
>>>                     transfer energy in direct manners: a
>>>         billiard
>>>                     ball hits another ball and we
>>>                     can anticipate the exact speed and
>>>         direction
>>>                     that the second ball will take
>>>                     based on the energy that is in the
>>>         system ball
>>>                     + ball + someone hitting. In
>>>                     living beings, the things are different.
>>>                     Bateson explained, if we kick a
>>>                     pig's ass (I think he used this somehow
>>>                     bizarre example) the reaction of
>>>                     the pig is not accounted for by the energy
>>>                     that is contained in the kick,
>>>                     at least not in a direct manner. The
>>>         energy
>>>                     that moves the pig is from a
>>>                     different source. Before Bateson, it was
>>>                     Vygotsky and his notion of
>>>                     mediation who would most clearly state
>>>         that
>>>                     social relations are not
>>>                     direct, but mediated.
>>>
>>>                                 So, how can design go
>>>         about this?
>>>                                 If we, along with Dewey and
>>>
>>>                     Vygotsky, consider experience to be a
>>>         unity of
>>>                     person and environment, and
>>>                     we assume as well that this is a
>>>         social (not
>>>                     just individual) category, and
>>>                     that how a situation is experienced is
>>>         also
>>>                     refracted through the social
>>>                     relations within which we engage, the most
>>>                     designers can do is to foster
>>>                     social relations go on, giving
>>>         afordances to
>>>                     prcesses of signification,
>>>                     without intending to embed meanings. It is
>>>                     about affordances/constraints,
>>>                     but not about how to interpret
>>>         something, but
>>>                     about going about
>>>                     interpreting. I think.
>>>
>>>                                 Best wishes,
>>>                                 Alfredo
>>>         ________________________________________
>>>                                 From:
>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>> <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>>
>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>> on
>>>                     behalf of
>>>                     Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu
>>>         <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>
>>>                     <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu
>>>         <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>>
>>>
>>>                                 Sent: 15 July 2015 18:04
>>>                                 To: Rolf Steier; eXtended
>>>         Mind,
>>>                                 Culture,     Activity
>>>                                 Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>>                                 Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>>
>>>                                 So after reading the
>>>         article and
>>>                                 the e-mail discussion I'm
>>>         beginning
>>>
>>>                     to think there is a really big issue
>>>         here that
>>>                     I am trying to grapple with,
>>>                     especially in terms of boundary
>>>         objects (which
>>>                     I admittedly do not
>>>                     understand very well).  And it relates
>>>         to the
>>>                     metaphor of the table (both
>>>                     as discussed by Larry and Ingold as
>>>                     interpreted by Rolf).  It is this, in
>>>                     the museum should the place be set up as
>>>                     affordances, perceived
>>>                     affordances, or constraints?  It seems the
>>>                     museum in the study has
>>>                     potential affordances for the users.  The
>>>                     cultural historical moment
>>>                     (unable to think of any other word) of the
>>>                     museum sets the context, meaning
>>>                     those walking through the museum are
>>>         going to
>>>                     be restricted by the
>>>                     historical and cultural boundaries
>>>         leading up
>>>                     to the art work, along with
>>>                     the expectations and needs of the
>>>         individuals
>>>                     moving through the museum,
>>>                     but they will come across
>>>         objects/artifacts
>>>                     that they think meets the needs
>>
>>